Episode 82: Are Lobbyists Good or Bad? 



Are lobbyists good or bad? We asked four high school students about the secret world of teenage lobbying. Brionna Dulay, Saachi Sharma, Cole Cochrane, and Anna Xies all volunteer for Citizens’ Climate Lobby and contribute their opinions in this month’s podcast.

Brionna Dulay is a high school senior in Washington State who discovered a passion for climate advocacy after she witnessed severe flooding in her community. As a Punjabi-American, Brionna recognized the lack of her community’s representation in climate advocacy and climate change’s disproportionate effects on minority communities. This has pushed Brionna to speak to United States senators and representatives along with local, regional, and state members of congress. 

Saachi Sharma, also from Washington State, has been involved with Citizens’ Climate Lobby since middle school, and she is now a high school junior. She believes that the work done by today’s youth helps make the world a better place, and says, “There’s really no age for when you can start being more climate-conscious.” 

Cole Cochrane started his advocacy at 11 years old as a volunteer on campaigns for local candidates. Cole is now a senior in high school and has co-founded a nonprofit organization called Maine Youth Action, where he serves as the Policy Director. Maine Youth Action aims to empower youth in politics and have their voices heard in critical areas like climate action.

Anna Xies lived in China until she was 11 years old and is now a senior in high school in Washington State. Anna is the statewide leader of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Youth and previously worked on team recruitment. Anna was struck by the positive feedback from new team members, who told her that CCL has changed their lives and given them more confidence in their public speaking and in the future of our planet. 

So are lobbyists evil? Anna says, “I don’t think lobbying is inherently evil. I think when you get a lot of money involved with it, it gets a little bit corrupt at times”.

We decided to call a professional lobbyist to find out more. 

Ben Pendergrass has worked in Washington, D.C., for over 14 years as a Congressional staffer and a government relations professional. He is CCL’s Vice President of Government Affairs and works to advance the policy goals of CCL in Congress. Ben gave us the inside scoop on professional lobbying in the United States and had some advice for youth lobbyists. Ben suggests that “being informed, being polite, and really connecting the issues back to the state or district is always very important.” 


Volunteer and Make a Difference on Climate Action


Dig Deeper

Good News Story

Citizens’ Climate Radio Intern, Lila Powell, tells us about two young climate advocates’ successes in sustainability. Franziska Trautmann and Max Steitz were students at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. While sipping wine in their backyard, Franziska and Max pondered the future of the glass bottle it came in since NOLA doesn’t have a government-funded glass recycling program. Tune in to hear how they turned this issue into a happy tale for their whole community.

We always welcome your thoughts, questions, suggestions, and recommendations for the show. Leave a voicemail at (518) 595-9414 (+1 if calling from outside the USA). You can email your answers to radio@citizensclimate.org.


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Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCL volunteer Peterson Toscano.


Read the Transcript:

Episode 82: Are Lobbyists Good or Bad?

Peterson Toscano  00:00

Welcome to Citizens Climate Radio, your climate change podcast.

Ruth Abraham  00:04

I’m Ruth Abraham.

Peterson Toscano  00:05

And I’m Peterson Toscano. Welcome to Episode 82 of Citizens Climate Radio, a project of Citizens Climate Education.

Ruth Abraham  00:12

This episode is airing on Friday, March 24, 2023.

Peterson Toscano  00:17

I’m really excited about this episode. It’s been in the works for months. And I’m also thrilled to welcome you, Ruth Abraham, as our co-host today.

Ruth Abraham  00:26

Thank you so much for having me. As a recent college graduate with aspirations of working on the Hill in environmental policy, I’m ready to answer our title’s question. Are lobbyists really evil?

Ruth Abraham  00:40

In the USA, the political climate we hear about in the media, it’s tense, contentious, and polarized. Many Americans, including myself, are concerned that special interest groups are setting the agenda with the help of lobbyists and huge campaign donations. Do citizens have any real power to voice their concerns and wishes?

Peterson Toscano  01:02

And what about those lobbyists I hear so much about? Who are they exactly and how much influence do they have?

Ruth Abraham  01:08

On today’s show, we’re featuring four guests. They are each high school students, three are from Washington State, and one of them is from Maine. They definitely have a thing or two to say about this topic. Saachi Sharma is from Bellevue, Washington.

Saachi Sharma  01:24

I’m very connected to my culture, I have Indian roots. So that’s something that I enjoy talking about with people. It’s a big part of my life at home and outside of home. I also play a lot of volleyball, and I enjoy watching sports, so that’s a really nice way to connect with people.

Peterson Toscano  01:40

Anna Xies also lives in Washington State.

Anna Xies  01:43

I’m a high school senior. I live on Mercer Island, which is by Seattle. I’ve lived here for about six years. And then I spent my first 11 years in Shanghai and Beijing in China.

Ruth Abraham  01:57

 A friend of both Saachi and Anna’s is Brionna Dulay.

Brionna Dulay  02:02

My parents are from Punjab. That’s a really important identity that I have. I visited Punjab actually like five times – that’s Punjab, India. But another really important, important like role in my life is just being a woman. There’s a lot about being a woman that, just like, if you don’t identify as a woman yourself, you won’t be able to understand these certain things.

Peterson Toscano  02:27

And from all the way on the other side of the USA is Cole Cochrane from Saco, Maine .

Cole Cochrane  02:32

So I’m a high school senior right now and my school has been very forgiving as I’ve been going through politics. I’m the legislative director at Maine Youth Action. So I do a lot of my work through there.

Peterson Toscano  02:43

Ruth, you’re younger than I am. So I don’t know, you might disagree with me on this one. But I have this assumption about high school students that they are typically idealistic, and they have really strong opinions.

Ruth Abraham  02:55

Being not that far removed. I can say that’s a fair assessment, but our passion is usually well-guided. Let’s find out what they have to say about our question today.

Ruth Abraham  03:06

Are lobbyists evil? We first hear from Anna and Cole.

Anna Xies  03:11

Well, since I am a lobbyist, I would have to say no, I think there are a lot of really bad connotations surrounding lobbying. I definitely felt it when I first joined CCL when I, when I was like, looking at the CCL website, and it was like- Oh, we lobby. And I was like, Oh, I don’t know if I really want to do this. But I’m really glad I did.

Anna Xies  03:32

I don’t think lobbying is inherently evil. I think when you get a lot of money involved with it, it gets a little bit corrupt at times. What I love about CCL is how CCL is nonprofit, all of the lobbyists are volunteers. And we’re really just doing this because we care about it. And we’re not really like gaining financially out of it in any way. So no, I don’t think lobbying is evil.

Cole Cochrane  03:57

I look at lobbyism as advocacy, right? It’s just more hands-on, right? Because you have your grassroots advocacy where it’s the rallies, the protests, right? The mobilization of the masses and that’s how you get the attention of the legislators, but who’s going to carry that attention when the rallies and those protests start fading away?

Cole Cochrane  04:16

And that’s where I see the lobbyists come in. And it’s a it’s a delicate dynamic where we definitely don’t want an overwhelming presence of how people see as like elitist whispering in legislators ears. When we have that grassroots advocacy, pressuring those legislators, that’s when the lobbyists come in and kind of start advocating on our behalf.

Ruth Abraham  04:36

Back in 2019, I was a college sophomore and all I heard about was students protesting. Whether it was sit-ins or walkouts, marches, I’d never heard of anyone my age lobbying.

Peterson Toscano  04:53

Well, I think the thing is that, like protesting, it definitely gets in the news. I mean, they provide these like amazing images and soundbites. But quietly, behind the scenes, some high school students have been opting for advocacy work.

Saachi Sharma  05:07

I do enjoy going to protests and seeing how many people, you know, care about the same issue as me. It’s very nice to be able to visualize that. But for me, working online and getting the message out there feels a lot more comfortable. And I feel like I can reach more people through that work.

Cole Cochrane  05:28

It’s more of a personal preference. Like I like to be involved in the policy, understand the context and kind of avoid any unintended consequences of well-intentioned policies up in the statehouse. I think a lot of people definitely want to be a part of the grassroots advocacy because that’s what they see on the TV. But when you delve, like even just one layer deeper, you realize there’s this entire community that works together and partners together to make sure that the voices that people that you hear on the streets can also be heard in the halls of the house.

Brionna Dulay  05:58

Within advocacy, you’re able to understand the importance of compromise and the importance of being moderate. And there are some things where it is really important, that it’s like, you don’t give up and you don’t sacrifice.

Ruth Abraham  06:14

Brianna shared that she hopes to be a lawyer one day, she actually traveled from Washington State, all the way to Washington, DC. She lobbied members of Congress and their staff. She learned a lot from that experience, including important lessons about diversity.

Brionna Dulay  06:31

Definitely had the fear of Oh, what am I going to wear? I remember, since obviously, I am a kid, I had to have an adult chaperone. And Gwen, who leads the Washington youth team- so brilliant, so amazing. She accompanied me, I remember just like frantically texting her asking her like what to wear. We need to make sure that we have a lot more people from different demographics, helping and utilizing their voice. We need to spread this out and include a lot more in different diverse groups, who all really value the environment just as much as we do.

Peterson Toscano  07:13

Going to these DC congressional offices is no joke. Back in 2013, when I started volunteer lobbying, I was terrified the first few times I did it. The good news is that we can learn how to become confident in these situations.

Anna Xies  07:28

Before I joined CCL, I was very afraid of any type of public speaking. So those first couple lobby meetings, I was like terrified, and I was like shaking. And it was like, it was good that was on Zoom, because of being in person I think would have been like so much. But it was really nice to see that like, I’d be like super nervous beforehand. But then afterwards, I’d feel like really good about it.

Anna Xies  07:52

And it was just nice to have all these constant opportunities to build more confidence, not only logging meetings, but through like presentations to businesses and organizations in Washington, about the same legislation. And then also we did this Washington State Legislator project that was just tons of lobby meetings. Really just having that constant exposure and then constantly talking about the same thing to I think also helped and then also having the wonderful team too to present with, and it really made me feel better about public speaking.

Ruth Abraham  08:22

That was such a good message about confidence building. And in a moment Peterson and I are going to share some of the successes  Saachi, Brionna, Anna and Cole experienced

Peterson Toscano  08:33

Yes, but I still have questions about our question. Are lobbyist evil, these high schoolers, you know, they’re passionate volunteers. They want to make the world a better place. What about the actual paid lobbyists in Washington, DC? Are they the evil ones? To find out, I’m going to call one.

Peterson Toscano  09:00

I’m always nervous. Maybe he won’t pick up.

Ben Pendergrass  09:04

Hello, this is Ben.

Peterson Toscano  09:06

Hey Ben, this is Peterson from Citizens Climate Radio. I have a couple of questions. Do you have a few seconds, minutes?

Ben Pendergrass  09:11

I got a few minutes.

Peterson Toscano  09:13

You live in Washington, DC. Is it true you are a professional, paid lobbyist?

Ben Pendergrass  09:19

Yes, I think I’ve been a registered lobbyist now for over 15 years.

Peterson Toscano  09:24

Wow. You like have to like register to be a lobbyist.

Ben Pendergrass  09:27

There’s all kinds of ethics filings and laws and regulations around being a registered lobbyist. And we have very specific reporting requirements for what we’re doing and lobbying on and if we’re getting any campaign contributions. All those things have to be disclosed and you have to be registered.

Peterson Toscano  09:45

Wow, so what do you do?

Ben Pendergrass  09:48

As a government affairs/professional lobbyists, you know, we talk to members of Congress and their staffs, bills we’d like to see enacted, things we would not like to see enacted. Crafting legislation, working with coalition’s and other groups to advance wins for the climate is kind of our day to day. It usually entails a lot of meetings both with Hill staff and with other organizations.

Peterson Toscano  10:13

And for folks like me, not in the beltway, like we hear lobbyist, and it always sounds like there’s like these huge corporations and fossil fuels companies with lots of money, and that money influences politicians. And I know you’re not sitting there with piles of cash, I know how CCL works. So what clout do, you have to, to connect with these lawmakers and to persuade them to consider the policies you’re proposing?

Ben Pendergrass  10:40

You really got to think of lobbyists as being more like lawyers, you know, a professional class that understands the way the legislative process works, and uses that knowledge to help various causes or clients. Every cause you could think of has pretty much some sort of lobbyist in their employ. For reducing poverty, obviously, on climate change, any cause you can think of, there’s somebody working this. And the same thing goes for any industry also has to be represented by somebody in DC because the laws we pass affect businesses and people. And having people in DC and in government payers role is one of the best ways to make sure that Congress understands the laws they make, what kind of impact they’re having on that particular constituency or industry. So it’s very important for everybody to have that representation.

Ben Pendergrass  11:29

Going to your particular question on clout without money. Well, I mean, our clout really comes from our volunteers. It comes from the grassroots power of concerned citizens that are engaging with their members of Congress every day, in a respectful and educated fashion. People don’t want to talk to me just because my charming personality, they want to interact with us and listen to us because we have an army of volunteers that really are concerned about getting something done on climate, standing beside us. And so it doesn’t really necessitate money to make a difference.

Peterson Toscano  11:45

For you, why Citizens Climate Lobby and why climate change?

Ben Pendergrass  12:11

I think that this goes for a lot of people up here in DC, there are causes we care about. I really do think that climate is one of the existential issues for our time. It’s an everything issue that affects our national security, it affects our economy, it affects people, it affects the places we live, and work and raise our families. And so I can’t think of a more important issue to be working on in Washington, but everybody does have, you know, the things that are most important to them. If you’re lucky enough, you do get an opportunity to work on things that you really care about. I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to represent CCL because it is such an important issue that is near and dear to myself.

Peterson Toscano  12:51

Final question, a lot of young people are listening to this. Lots of them are considering being volunteer lobbyists through Citizens Climate Lobby or other ways and who knows, might even pursue a career in lobbying. Any tips or best practices you have for someone who’s going to speak to a member of Congress, in their state locally or nationally?

Ben Pendergrass  13:12

Being informed, being polite, and really connecting the issues back to the state or district is always very important. Members of Congress get a lot of abuse sometimes. One of the reasons CCL has been so effective, is we start from a place of respect and finding common ground. And that really makes it a lot easier to have an impactful, reasoned conversation with somebody. There are folks that like to approach these things much more aggressively. And that might have a certain place, but there’s also a place for building bridges with folks that we don’t necessarily agree with.

Peterson Toscano  13:47

Okay, man, this was really great. Thanks a lot for this conversation. I’m a lot clearer, and I can definitely attest you’re not evil.

Ben Pendergrass  13:54

It’s really good talking to you, Peterson.

Ben Pendergrass  13:56

All right, have a great day.

Peterson Toscano  13:59

That was Ben Pendergrass. He serves as CCLs, Vice President of Government Affairs and as part of the government relations team in Washington, DC.

Ruth Abraham  14:08

And coming up, our team of high schoolers will tell us about their successes and their positions as volunteer lobbyists. You will also learn about their roles and their strategies, plus advice for anyone wanting to engage in climate advocacy.

Peterson Toscano  14:23

Our guests today are four high school students who are doing climate advocacy.

Ruth Abraham  14:28

Saachi, Brionna, and Anna are from Washington State. Cole is all the way from the state of Maine. In order for them to be effective climate advocates, they need to be organized and disciplined. They take their roles and responsibilities much seriously than I ever did anything in high school.

Peterson Toscano  14:46

Cole is the co-founder of Maine Youth Action.

Cole Cochrane  14:50

So we actually co-founded it, Anna Xies and I, because we did some divestment work, which is like divesting from fossil fuels and the pension fund. So we co-founded the nonprofits so we can get more into like the, what they call like 501 C 4 work, which is like direct lobbying. So I’ve been involved since August of 2021. And we built it up to be a great organization so far, definitely needs a lot more improvement, like logistically speaking, so we can have it go beyond ourselves, but very proud of it so far.

Ruth Abraham  15:19

Anna, along with Saachi and Brionna, as part of Washington State’s Citizens Climate Lobby Youth,

Anna Xies  15:26

My current position in CCL is the Washington youth team’s Statewide Director. We’re just like a really big chapter of high school youth and some middle schoolers too, as well. I got involved at CCL because I had been working with my school’s environmental club, and this was before the pandemic. And then once the pandemic happened, school kind of shut down. And then I wasn’t really involved with the club anymore. And I was really interested and involved with it for a while. So I was hoping I could find a way to continue, even if it was from home. And that’s kind of how I found CCL. And I really liked how CCL had a very specific goal. And I really liked the people I met.

Anna Xies  16:04

Actually, one of my first experiences was going to a lobby meeting with Adam Smith and Senator Patty Murray, just like the amount of training and the amount of support that CCL gave really made it so that I felt prepared. And then was initially involved with legislator outreach and outreach to organizations and businesses asking for endorsements for the Energy Innovation Act. But then stepped into the role of outreach director because we were still looking for more members. So there are a lot of open positions, since then really expanded the role to not only doing those types of advocacy calls, but also doing like youth programs with local libraries to talk about climate change. I was helping with recruitment, just expand the team.

Ruth Abraham  16:45

Saachi, who is now a high school junior, joined CCL youth when she was 13.

Saachi Sharma  16:51

Well, I’ve been with the group since we first started, back before COVID. I mainly work in social media, we kind of do outreach, and also just, you know, keep people updated, gain a bigger following. We’re really focused on getting more youth involvement in the climate crisis. So through our social media platforms, we’re really trying to speak to them so that they can either join us in whatever project we’re working on at the time or join our team for a longer term.

Peterson Toscano  17:19

After experiencing a flood in her area, Brionna knew she needed to get involved.

Brionna Dulay  17:24

You grow up in like you hear about all like California fires and etc. And then, like when it happens to you, it’s entirely different. Upon researching what exactly had happened, the causes behind it, it was essentially an atmospheric river, which was enhanced by climate change. In recent years, we’ve all sort of noticed how our weather has become more extreme living on the coast, our weather is supposed to be much more moderate. And in recent years, that is just sort of diminished.

Brionna Dulay  17:53

That and I wanted to, you know, help advocate for our climate overall, but also specifically within like, my region and like my area. And so what that has included is just like talking to local elected officials. I’ve had numerous meetings with Republicans and Democrats alike, coming to them with this perspective of what it’s like to have grown up in this environment.

Ruth Abraham  18:18

Washington’s CCL youth and Maine Youth Action have experienced some great successes. Anna explains, though, the work is more than the successes that they rack up. It’s about empowerment and growth.

Anna Xies  18:32

Sometimes, we have projects that go really well and are like events that we host and a lot of people come but then other times, they can’t always be successful, obviously. So, there have been a couple times where it’s just been like a little bit disappointing. For me, the most important part is the number of people we impact the lives we can change, especially because this is a team for high school youth who are deciding like what they want to do in their future as well. A big measure of success is for how we impact the members of the team.

Anna Xies  19:03

So I told you, I was working on team recruitment. And I really like didn’t really think much of it, like I thought that was just like, oh, this is part of running a team. But then later on, I would have people who joined the team because of these programs I arranged. And tell me that being part of CCL has changed their lives and like has given them more confidence in their speaking skills, or made them more confident that people were just out there trying to work on this massive issue that sometimes seems like there’s no progress happening.

Peterson Toscano  19:37

In addition to connecting with members of Congress, Saachi says CCL youth also reaches out to fellow youth.

Saachi Sharma  19:45

The message that we’re really trying to send out with all our work is that climate change is an issue. And it’s an issue that every single person can be a part of, we can all make a difference if we do it together. If something thing that’s really been hitting with at least our audiences is that there’s really no age to when you can start being more climate-conscious.

Saachi Sharma  20:08

We often ask people to email, you know, your state representatives. Recently, we were asking people for support on the Rise Act. And so we posted about that act and asked our followers to send a quick email, we have the templates already made. When there’s a lot of people that are sending those emails to people with political power, it shows how many people actually care. Which can make a big difference, even though one email on its own might not.

Ruth Abraham  20:34

 And in Maine, Cole and his fellow youth advocates, have experienced legislative victories.

Cole Cochrane  20:41

In Maine, it’s a unique dynamic. When I entered the scene, it was a democratic trifecta. So I think at the time we had, like 80 Democrats out of 151. We had almost a supermajority in the Senate, which was like 23 or 24. And then we also had the governor’s office. So it was a perfect time to introduce any ambitious policy on the environment. So getting involved is easy. Plus, that there’s a democratic trifecta made an excellent combo for success.

Cole Cochrane  21:09

And that’s where things like divestment, which was one of our first successes, was able to pass, and we were able to I think divest roughly 3 to $400 million in fossil fuel assets, which were in our $1.3 billion public pension fund. We have plenty of other successes that honestly like I don’t want to take credit for all of them because it’s definitely more of a collaborative movement. But like, for example, the Pine Tree Amendment, we’ve been working on diligently, and we’ve guaranteed a supermajority in the Senate, and we’re working on the House votes right now. We focused on tribal sovereignty a lot, conservation, agriculture, and environmental action work.

Peterson Toscano  21:46

Now, I have to say, even with control of both chambers of Congress and the governor’s office, Maine Youth Action, and the other advocates still had a lot of hard work to do. But having that trifecta, no doubt made it easier. So I asked Cole, what he had to say to someone listening who lives in a state that does not have those favorable conditions.

Cole Cochrane  22:09

With the mixed legislatures, which honestly makes it a little bit more fun, right. And that’s how you have to look at it, is that especially when you’re one of these allegedly evil lobbyists, right, you’re focusing on creating a coalition and you want it to be expansive, and you want it to be broad. Like one thing that we’ve been focusing on recently for next session is public transportation. In Maine, 54% of emissions is transportation. What we’ve ended up doing is that we’ve gotten State Chamber involved, Maine Municipal Association, and a bunch of environmental groups.

Cole Cochrane  22:40

So we’ve had this progressive side and this extremely conservative side, come together on an issue for different reasons. The environmental groups come for emissions, the State Chamber comes for saving costs on transportation for the average worker, the Maine Municipal Association wants their cities represented in this discussion. And that’s similar to a lot of other legislators out there, Republican or Democrat, you just have to give them a reason that favors their interests. And that’s a lot of why lobbyists are there because you can have that public pressure. But you really need to have that pressure channeled into reason and rationale for each legislator, so they can confirm their interest and why they have a stake in that cause or in that movement.

Ruth Abraham  23:22

And what stands out to me about these high school students is the way they encourage each other to do this work. It’s so important because we all know climate work is not easy. Having a support system of peers is key. Cole reminds us that as climate advocates, we have the power to reveal to lawmakers and fellow citizens, the world is better off with climate solutions in place

Cole Cochrane  23:46

You are trying to convey to people this narrative of like why this is important, and why it needs to be solved, or why it needs to be addressed. And that’s exactly what the climate movement is about.

Ruth Abraham  23:57

And he has a word of encouragement for all of us.

Cole Cochrane  24:00

Keep moving on. You know, I feel like some people definitely get discouraged and especially when something that’s this existentialists where you’re like, feeling that you’re crunched for time or that there’s nothing left that you can do, just keep moving forward. What else do you have to lose?

Ruth Abraham  24:14

Many thanks to our guests Anna Xies, Brionna Dulay, Saachi Sharma, and Cole Cochrane.

Peterson Toscano  24:21

Thanks to Sue Nichols and Gwen Hanson for connecting us to these climate advocates. Oh, and thanks to Ben Pendergrass for revealing the secret world of lobbyists.

Ruth Abraham  24:31

And if you’re inspired by the work these high school students are doing, you can join them in lobbying this June. The Citizens Climate International Conference and Lobby Day will be held June 10 to June 13, 2023, in Washington, DC.

Peterson Toscano  24:46

I’m going to be there!

Ruth Abraham  24:47

This year, you’ll get to put everything you’ll learn to use when you meet with members of Congress on Capitol Hill and talk to them about climate change. Registration is open now until May 21. And to learn more and register, visit CCLusa.org/JuneConference. That’s the CCLusa.org/JuneConference.

Peterson Toscano  25:10

Now it is time for our good news story brought to you by Citizens Climate Radio team member, Lila Powell.

Lila Powell  25:17

While enjoying wine in their backyard, Franziska Trautmann and Max Steitz pondered the future of the glass bottle it came in. Franziska and Max live in New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans doesn’t have a government-funded glass recycling program, the majority of glass products end up in landfills. At the time, Franziska and Max were seniors in college, they only had a backyard and an idea.

Lila Powell  25:37

First, they started collecting glass from friends and hand-crushing it in their backyard. The word spread and their company, Glass Half Full, came to life. And wait until you hear about how they use the crushed glass! Glass Half Full aims to reduce waste and support sustainability. Once the glass has been dropped off at the recycling center. It’s sorted by color. They then crush it using a hammer mill. From this process, they produce glass pieces and a lot of sand. The glass pieces are sorted and distributed.

Lila Powell  26:05

So what’s done with all this glass sand? As many of us know, New Orleans is heavily affected by the changing climate. From hurricanes to floods, they’re constantly restoring and rebuilding the surrounding environment. Glass Half Full has made adapting New Orleans a mission. Their recycled glass sand is used for a variety of projects such as coastal restoration, disaster relief, eco-construction, art, and new glass products.

Lila Powell  26:27

Franziska and Max’s company has made a huge impact in the New Orleans community. They’re now recycling over 100,000 pounds of glass every month. To learn more about Glass Half Full, visit GlassHalfFullNOLA.org, NOLA is N O L A. You can also check out Franziska on TikTok @EcoFran, where she’ll show you a lot of the behind-the-scenes action. I hope this good news story has inspired you to look into local sustainability efforts or sparked an idea on how to make sustainability more accessible.

Ruth Abraham  26:58

Thank you, Lila. If you have good news, you want to share on the show, email us! . That’s .

Ruth Abraham  27:09

Before we end the show, we have a next step that you can take in your own climate work call or, if you’re shy, email a member of Congress using CCL tools. We have a simple way for you to learn who your members of Congress are, and ways to connect with them, even help you with the messaging. I’ve reached out to my representatives, and I’ve received emails and letters back. They notice when people are reaching out to them about climate change. Your voice is powerful, and this is a great place to be heard.

Peterson Toscano  27:36

Just visit  CCLusa.org/call.

Ruth Abraham  27:41

That’s CCLusa.org/call. Thank you for joining Peterson and me for Episode 82 of Citizens Climate Radio.

Peterson Toscano  27:51

Special thanks to the members of our advisory board: Tamara Staton, Meggie Stenback, Katie Zakrzewski, Sharon Bagatell, Caillie Roach, Solemi Hernandez, Hannah Rogers, Sean Dague, and Brett Cease.

Ruth Abraham  28:04

Citizens Climate Radio is written and produced by Peterson Toscano, Lila Powell, and me, Ruth Abraham.

Peterson Toscano  28:10

Other technical support from Ricky Bradley and Brett Cease. Social media assistance from Ashley Hunt-Mortorano, Flannery Winchester, Katie Zakrzewski, Syeda Naqvi, and Steve Valk. Moral support from Madeline Para.

Ruth Abraham  28:23

And if you like what you heard today, please feel free to share this episode with your friends.

Peterson Toscano  28:27

Yeah, definitely share it with your friends. How else are they going to find out about us? And visit CCLusa.org/radio to see our show notes and find links to our guests. You will also find contact details, so you can email us or even leave a voicemail.

Ruth Abraham  28:45

Citizens Climate Radio is a project of Citizens Climate Education